The changing face of South African wines

Nearly 20 years after Apartheid ended in 1994, the wealth of wine in South Africa today is like Australia in the ’80s, Chile in the ’90s or even Argentina today.

Apartheid was a system of racial segregation where the rights of the majority black inhabitants of South Africa were curtailed and white supremacy and Afrikaner minority rule was maintained.

This provoked internal resistance and violence as well as a lengthy arms and trade embargo against South Africa. That embargo precluded importing South African wine to many countries, including Canada.

Since Apartheid’s end in 1994 the South African wine industry has internationalized. The wines of France are obviously both targets and models. Not quite a white Bordeaux, although the blend is very similar, “The Beach House” Sauvignon-Semillon (+120972) $10.99 is nicely balanced and flavourfully citric, with a twist of lemon zest in the finish.